Universal Health Day or Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day) is celebrated on 12 December every year as a point of convergence to stand for health for all. The day marks the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations (UN) resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, anywhere in the world in 2012. On 12 December 2017, the UN endorsed 12 December as International Universal Health Coverage Day (UHC Day).
Universal health coverage has been included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations.
This year’s theme is “Leave No One’s Health Behind: Invest in Health Systems for All”. As we are in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, UHC day provides an opportunity to review progress and identify gaps in achieving Universal Health Coverage.
The UHC Day aims to raise awareness of the need for strong and resilient health systems and UHC with multi-stakeholder partners. Governments, international organisations, civil society organisations, the private sector, academia, and media are encouraged to use this year’s theme to keep reminding leaders, our health systems and ourselves accountable to the promise of health for all.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) stands for ensuring equitable access of health services for all the citizens in any part of the country, regardless of income level, social status, gender, caste or religion. It aims to provide affordable, accountable, appropriate health service of assured quality. It includes the all essential health services from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care.
India is committed to providing Universal Health Coverage for all during the 12th Plan period (2012-2017). A High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) was constituted by the Planning Commission. While financial protection was the principal objective of this initiative, it was recognized that the delivery of UHC also requires the availability of adequate healthcare infrastructure, skilled health workforce and access to affordable drugs and technologies.
India took a giant leap towards providing accessible and affordable healthcare to the common man with the launch of several initiatives- Ayushman Bharat programme in 2018, Ayushman Digital Mission and PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission this year.
Ayushman Bharat Programme was initiated in 2018 with the provision to ensure the quality healthcare covering primary, secondary and tertiary health cares. The two major activities of the Ayushman Bharat Programme are - the transformation of nearly 1.5 lakh sub-centres and primary health centres into Health &Wellness Centres for delivery of comprehensive primary health care services and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) which aims to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approx. 50 crore beneficiaries) to provide health insurance cover up to Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) was launched this year with the aim to provide the necessary support for the integration of digital health infrastructure in the country.
PM Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission launched this year aims to address the different gaps in the health sector of the country.
Investing more in health with equitable distribution is crucial to achieve universal health coverage and no one is left behind.
Past UHC Days